References to decades-old computer software are included in the new Brexit agreement, including a description of Netscape Communicator and Mozilla Mail as being “modern” services.
Experts believe officials must have copied and pasted chunks of text from old legislation into the document.
The references are on page 921 of the trade deal, in a section on encryption technology.
It also recommends using systems that are now vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The text cites “modern e-mail software packages including Outlook, Mozilla Mail as well as Netscape Communicator 4.x.”
The latter two are now defunct – the last major release of Netscape Communicator was in 1997.
“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he’s prepared to address all the issues on the basis of a legal text in an accelerated way, without the UK required to make all the moves or to discuss the practicalities of travel and haulage,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
“If not there is no point in coming.”
He added: “Trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying they do not want to change their negotiating position.”
Speaking in Downing Street earlier, Mr Johnson suggested the EU was unwilling to seriously consider the UK’s preferred option of a comprehensive free trade agreement based on the bloc’s existing arrangement with Canada.
The UK, he added, must look at the “alternative” – which he suggested was Australia’s much-more limited set of agreements with the EU.
Boris Johnson’s public declaration that the UK should prepare for No Deal did not cause great concern within EU circles.
The immediate response came in a tweet from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who said it was full steam ahead for trade talks next week and that EU negotiators would be getting on their Eurostar to London as planned.
But the subsequent statement from the prime minister’s official spokesman – off-camera, but on-the-record – that the “trade talks are over” has left senior diplomats “deeply unimpressed”, as one put it to me.
Although “we’re getting used to being part of Johnson’s pantomime”, they added.
Some EU figures fear Boris Johnson still doesn’t know if he actually wants a deal and is trying to buy time while be grapples with the Covid crisis.
Following the hardening the British position by Number 10, France’s President Macron called on the prime minister to make up his mind, while there was still time.
Many in Brussels remain “cautiously optimistic” some sort of deal can be agreed but any route there is now even harder to see.
For all of the controversy this has roiled over the past few years, it seems almost anticlimactic today.
The UK officially left the European Union on Friday at 23:00 GMT after 47 years of membership, and more than three years after it voted to do so in a referendum.
Brexit parties were held in some pubs and social clubs as well as in London’s Parliament Square, as the country counted down to its official departure.
In a message released on social media an hour before the UK left, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to bring the country together and “take us forward”.
“For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come,” he said. “And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss.”
I forget… did liberals say that this would cause World War III or a global economic collapse? I can’t remember.
Britain’s departure from the EU on 31 January was set in stone in a historic moment for the nation as MEPs in Brussels ratified the withdrawal agreement before breaking out in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
As the president of the European parliament, David Sassoli, announced the result of the vote, with 621 in favour to 49 against with 13 abstentions, MEPs stood almost as one to sing the Scottish song.
The vote ensures that the UK’s 47 years of membership of the EU will now end at midnight central European time on Friday, after years of troubled talks and uncertainty.
Sassoli concluded the session by quoting the murdered British MP Jo Cox, who was killed during the 2016 referendum campaign: “We have a lot more in common than divides us.”
It looks like the politicos are finally giving in to the will of the public. Maybe. There’s a long way to go.
MPs have backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January.
They voted 358 to 234 – a majority of 124 – in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which now goes on to further scrutiny in Parliament.
The bill would also ban an extension of the transition period – during which the UK is out of the EU but follows many of its rules – past 2020.
The PM said the country was now “one step closer to getting Brexit done”.
The elites keep saying that the people don’t want, or should’t want, Brexit, but the people keep making their wished known at the ballot box.
Boris Johnson has said he hopes his party’s “extraordinary” election win will bring “closure” to the Brexit debate and “let the healing begin”.
Speaking in Downing Street, he said he would seek to repay the trust placed in him by Labour supporters who had voted Conservative for the first time.
He said he would not ignore those who opposed Brexit as he builds with Europe a partnership “of sovereign equals”.
The Tories have won a Commons majority of 80, the party’s largest since 1987.
It means the UK is heading out of the EU at the end of next month, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said, with Mr Johnson’s “thumping” majority allowing him to get the laws required through Parliament “in a matter of weeks”.
The Conservatives’ victory in the 650th and final contest of the election – the seat of St Ives, in Cornwall – took their total number of MPs up to 365. Labour finished on 203, the SNP 48, Liberal Democrats 11 and the DUP eight.
LONDON – In a surprise move, opposition and rebel British lawmakers voted Saturday to postpone an important Brexit vote, legally forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union.
A reluctant Johnson sent a letter requesting the delay late Saturday night, but he also made clear that he personally opposed delaying the U.K.’s exit, scheduled for Oct. 31.
The letter was not signed. It was accompanied by a second letter, signed by Johnson, arguing that delay would “damage the interests if the U.K. and our EU partners.”
After weeks of negotiations that seemed to be going nowhere, another deal was struck on Thursday.
The EU’s top negotiator declared the backstop has been abolished. But not everyone is happy with the replacement.
The new deal means Northern Ireland will stick to some EU rules, while technically still being in the UK customs area. Crucially, some checks will still take place between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Four years after it comes into effect, Northern Ireland’s politicians will have a say on whether to keep the deal going.
The EU is expected to agree to the new deal, if Ireland is happy.
Mr Johnson has until Saturday 19 October to get his deal across the line in the UK Parliament – or else he is legally required to request an extension to Brexit.
MPs in London will decide whether to sit on Saturday to debate the deal in the first Saturday session since 1982 – and that was at the start of the Falklands War.
Wow! Changing parties mid-speech.
Conservative MP Phillip Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats ahead of a showdown between Boris Johnson and Tory rebels over Brexit.
Dr Lee, the MP for Bracknell, took his seat on the opposition benches as the PM addressed the Commons.
His defection means Boris Johnson no longer has a working majority.
MPs hoping to pass legislation to block no deal have cleared the first hurdle after Speaker John Bercow granted them an emergency debate.
That debate could last up to three hours, followed by a vote. If the MPs win the vote – defeating the government – they will be able to take control of Commons business on Wednesday.
That will give them the chance to introduce a cross-party bill which would force the prime minister to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 31 January, unless MPs approve a new deal, or vote in favour of a no-deal exit, by 19 October.
It seems right now – although there is still some arm twisting going on behind the scenes – that the government is set to lose the vote.
We are finding ourselves in the middle of a full-throttle confrontation between a Parliament that does not want to allow the country to leave the EU without a deal and a prime minister who secured his place in power promising he would always keep that as an option.
Both of them cannot be the victors here.
The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.
Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.
But it means the time MPs have to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October would be cut.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was a “constitutional outrage”.
The speaker, who does not traditionally comment on political announcements, continued: “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of [suspending Parliament] now would be to stop [MPs] debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.”
It would be “an offence against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives”, he added.
Nothing like a crisis to force a compromise. Then again, the compromise may be worse than the no-deal Brexit.
Labour MPs opposed to a second referendum are considering a “radical and dramatic intervention” to make clear to Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnsonthey are prepared to vote for a Brexit deal, with one estimating that dozens of colleagues are now ready to back the withdrawal agreement.
Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP who coordinates around 30 MPs in a group called Respect the Result, said he believed that passing the withdrawal agreement was the most certain way of stopping the UK crashing out without a deal.
Kinnock, who had been urging Corbyn to do a deal with Theresa May in cross-party talks, said there was an increasing feeling among many of his colleagues opposed to a second referendum that passing the withdrawal agreement bill was the best option.
Despite Johnson’s refusal to negotiate with the EU unless it drops the backstop, Kinnock said a time would come in the autumn when a compromise deal could be done based on the withdrawal agreement that emerged out of cross-party talks.
“We’ve got to make a radical and dramatic intervention,” he said. “If enough of us do then it’s up to Boris Johnson to see where he goes from there. It means a large number of us going to see Jeremy and trying as hard as we possibly can telling him to make that big, bold offer, to face down the second referendum campaign and say there’s no time for that. We’ve got to get this deal over the line.
Diplomats from the other EU member states have been told the UK will leave without a deal unless major changes are made to Theresa May’s agreement, but that proposals such as abolishing the Irish backstop were unacceptable.
One negotiator said: “We are back where we were three years ago.”
Downing Street said it hoped the EU would rethink its refusal of changes.
A spokesperson said the EU “needed to change its stance”, adding: “We will throw ourselves into the negotiations with the greatest energy and the spirit of friendship and we hope the EU will rethink its current refusal to make any changes to [Mrs May’s] Withdrawal Agreement.”
The plan negotiated between the EU and Mrs May was voted down by MPs three times.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “do or die”, and leave the EU by the deadline of 31 October, with or without a deal.
A series of votes on Brexit options – known as “indicative” votes, designed to see what MPs would and would not support amid the Brexit deadlock – were held on Wednesday evening in the House of Commons, the main decision-making body of the UK Parliament, following hours of debate.
Unusually, MPs indicated their preferences using printed voting forms rather than trooping through the voting lobbies of the chamber.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced the results, revealing that MPs had rejected:
- Leaving the EU with no deal on 12 April
- Unilaterally dropping the plan to leave the EU if no deal is reached by 12 April
- A new referendum on any deal/s to leave the EU
- Leaving the EU but staying in a customs union with the 27 EU states
- Two variations on leaving the EU but staying in the European Economic Area (EEA) and rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
- Negotiating changes to the Withdrawal Agreement more in line with the Labour Party’s position
- Agreeing with the EU a period of two years in which UK goods have full access to EU markets
MPs from Mrs May’s Conservative Party were allowed by the leadership to vote as they saw fit, with the exception of her most senior ministers, who were expected to abstain.
The UK could still leave with no deal on 12 April if a way forward is not found. Although this is now regarded as unlikely, given the opposition of most MPs, by what method this can be avoided – and even who will be in charge of the process – is not entirely clear.
Not that I planned it, but I was in London for the gigantic anti-Brexit march that happened yesterday. My hotel was on Piccadilly across the park from Buckingham Palace. The march went right in front of my hotel. I skipped over to the City of London to escape most of the craziness, but was able to enjoy some fun protest signs. It took every fiber of my being to resist slipping in with a sign that said, “I’m American! I’m indifferent!”
The House of Commons Speaker has thwarted any attempt by Theresa May to bring a third meaningful vote to parliament, unless there has been substantial change to the Brexit deal.
With Theresa May’s plans thrown into chaos by the move, one of her chief law officers warned the government could be forced to cut short the parliamentary session and restart in order to bring back the Brexit deal.
John Bercow’s shock move, which drew immediate criticism from May’s allies, suggested he believed such a fundamental change would involve a renegotiation at EU level rather than clarification of the legal advice written by the attorney general, something that had been suggested this week.
The solicitor general, Robert Buckland, said the decision was a “constitutional crisis” and that the government might have to consider the drastic step of ending the parliamentary session early and restarting a new session.
Theresa May’s planned Brexit deal has suffered a major defeat in the UK parliament, leaving the Brexit process in disarray.
Mrs May began the day with renewed hope after securing last-minute changes to her withdrawal deal with the EU.
But MPs roundly defeated her proposals, 391 votes to 242, weeks after her first attempt to pass the deal met the same fate.
Had the vote gone her way, the UK would be preparing to leave the EU on 29 March.
That exit date still looms large, but things could go a few different ways before then.
The next step is… another vote (this one on Wednesday). MPs will vote on a motion on whether to allow the UK to exit the EU on 29 March without a deal – a so-called “disorderly” or “no-deal” Brexit.
Leaving the EU without a deal – and therefore without the 21-month transition period provided for by the deal – carries significant risks for trade, immigration, health, and more, and parliament will almost certainly reject that possibility.
Rejection of a no-deal Brexit would then set up… yes, you guessed it: another vote.This one would decide whether Mrs May will go back to the EU to request an extension to Article 50 – the formal name for the notification from the UK that it is leaving the union.
That would throw the Brexit ball into the EU’s court – potentially allowing the union to decide the terms of any extension period.
The BBC does a nice job of breaking down the latest news about Brexit without overwhelming you with the overheated rhetoric. This is my favorite part.
What was all that nonsense with the mace?
This chaotic and revolutionary-seeming period in British politics was symbolised best, perhaps, by an MP from the opposition Labour Party dramatically grabbing and making off with the ceremonial mace in the House of Commons after Mrs May called off the much-expected vote on her Brexit deal.
The mace represents the Queen in Parliament and debate cannot continue if it is removed.
I find infinite fascination in the Brits’ struggles to extricate themselves from being ruled by an overbearing overseas ruler. As Americans, we have some experience with that.
Mr Johnson does not pull any punches, telling Theresa May Brexit “should be about opportunity and hope” and a “chance to do things differently”, but “that dream is dying, suffocated by needless self doubt”.
He claims crucial decisions have been postponed, including preparations for a “no deal” scenario, “with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system”.
“It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws,” he says.
“In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.”
He said he had congratulated the PM on Friday on getting the cabinet to sign up to her proposals at their Chequers away day, admitting that there were too few ministers on his side of the argument to get their way.
The government now had a “song to sing” on Brexit, he added: “The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat”.
Sometimes the middle road is not the best road.
A campaign to secure a second Brexit referendum within a year and save the UK from “immense damage” is to be launched in days, the philanthropist and financier George Soros has announced.
The billionaire founder of the Open Society Foundation said the prospect of the UK’s prolonged divorce from Brussels could help persuade the British public by a “convincing margin” that EU membership was in their interests.
In a speech on Tuesday ahead of the launch of the Best for Britain campaign – said to have already attracted millions of pounds in donations – Soros suggested to an audience in Paris that changing the minds of Britons would be in keeping with “revolutionary times”.
Remember that the reason Germany and other EU members fought Brexit so hard was due to their own self interests. They do not have Britain’s best interests at heart.
For the first time in years, German sweet makers have seen a significant drop in the number of exports to Britain, Stephan Nießner said.
The UK market makes up a significant proportion of Germany’s confectionary exports, with around seven percent of sweets produced in the country bound for Great Britain.
Sixty-eight percent of the cars produced in the city are shipped to the UK.
News that the German confectionery industry is suffering in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote comes as Angela Merkel insisted the reason her country enjoyed such a large surplus was because German-made products are in such demand.